Farmers need more from MAL

Kava Farm in Malaita
A small kava farm in one of the villages in the mountains of Central Kwara'ae
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FARMERS in Malaita Province called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) to look into setting-up programme to assist them in their activity.

A farmer who requested anonymity made the call following challenges they continue to face in the sector.
He said traditionally agriculture is among very few sectors people in the past even until now depend on for income generating and survival.

The farmer said that still remain practical and real for 80 percent of the national population who leave in rural areas.
He said the only activity people in rural areas participate mostly on is gardening which paramount for their survival.

The farmer added that in these modern days farmers have ventured into commercial farming and the challenge is it was technical than the traditional farming which common everywhere.

He said with this technicality they look on MAL for assistance to guide and lead them for a prosperous farming.

However, the farmer said this is the area that lacks and needs MAL to do more to encourage farmers into the business.
He said in Malaita province farmers are capable as they proven themselves by going into commercial farming activities, but they very much need support.

The farmer said they want a sustainable kind of support programme that can be injected through the provincial agriculture office to carry out to farmers.

He said there are lot of kava farmers, coffee, cocoa, coconut and other commercial crops in the province who all along struggling with the activity.

The farmer said they cannot denied that they sometimes received assistance from the provincial agriculture office, but it need to be consistent.

He said they want a programme that will encourage farmers to be visited on regular basis for capacity assist or even finance if possible to boost the activity.

The farmer said many are saying that agriculture is the backbone of the economy of this country. That could only happen if MAL through the national government put priority on the sector.

On that note, Chief Provincial Agriculture Officer in Malaita Province, Mr Ledley Diudi applauded the farmers for their genuine call.

He said the purpose of establishing extension agriculture offices in provinces is for that matter. To assist farmers in their agricultural needs.

Thus, Diudi said that so far Malaita province especially continues to face some challenges in carrying out the work.
He said logistic is a main challenge faces that affected mobilization of officers to farmers in the province.

Diudi added that each provincial office has allocation of fund from the ministry to carry out their programmes of activity.
However, he said that as always experienced, the financial processing requirement of the fund through responsible ministry often becomes challenge for them.

Diudi said if the process slows them, it will also slow activities on ground. And by the time they get the allocation, farmers got weary of long waiting.

He said another area identified was agriculture officers always want to be in offices and less interest in going out in the field.
Diudi said his office also handicapped in some ways and also need proper support to carry out the work in the province.

CAPTION: A small kava farm in one of the villages in the mountains of Central Kwara’ae.